Dr. Sam Paul Appointed on PM’s 15 Point Program for Minorities in AP

August 12, 2011 by  
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Dr. Sam Paul with his family

Dr. Sam Paul with his family

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has appointed Dr. Sam Paul as a Member of the Prime Ministers’ New 15 Point Program, State Level Committee for Andhra Pradesh. We need to ensure that Christians are appointed to this body at the state level and call upon  those activists interested to contact The CSF for us to lobby for the same in your respective states – csfpost@gmail.com It is necessary that the schemes of the PM’s 15 Point program are propagated for Christians and other minorities benefit from it.  
 
In Andhra Pradesh, this committee is headed by the Chief Secretary with 15 Principal Secretaries / Secretaries of various Departments, Parliament Members, eminent individuals and NGOs representatives as members. Andhraites may contact Dr. Sam Paul via mobile: +91-9491917777  or email: sam@agapeinfotech.com  or by Fax: 040-2787-2424


Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities

(A) Enhancing opportunities for Education

(1) Equitable availability of ICDS Services

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is aimed at holistic development of children and pregnant/lactating mothers from disadvantaged sections, by providing services through Anganwadi Centres such as supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, referral services, pre-school and non-formal education. A certain percentage of the ICDS projects and Anganwadi Centres will be located in blocks/villages with a substantial population of minority communities to ensure that the benefits of this scheme are equitably available to such communities also.

(2) Improving access to School Education

Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, and other similar Government schemes, it will be ensured that a certain percentage of all such schools are located in villages/localities having a substantial population of minority communities.

(3) Greater resources for teaching Urdu

Central assistance will be provided for recruitment and posting of Urdu language teachers in primary and upper primary schools that serve a population in which at least one-fourth belong to that language group.

(4) Modernizing Madarsa Education

The Central Plan Scheme of Area Intensive and Madarsa Modernization Programme provides basic educational infrastructure in areas of concentration of educationally backward minorities and resources for the modernization of Madarsa education. Keeping in view the importance of addressing this need, this programme will be substantially strengthened and implemented effectively.

(5) Scholarships for meritorious students from minority communities

Schemes for pre-matric and post- matric scholarships for students from minority communities will be formulated and implemented.

(6) Improving educational infrastructure through the Maulana Azad Education Foundation

The Government shall provide all possible assistance to Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) to strengthen and enable it to expand its activities more effectively.

(B) Equitable Share in Economic Activities and Employment

(7) Self-Employment and Wage Employment for the poor

(a) The Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), the primary self-employment programme for rural areas, has the objective of bringing assisted poor rural families above the poverty line by providing them income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and Governmental subsidy. A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under the SGSY will be earmarked for beneficiaries belonging to the minority communities living below the poverty line in rural areas.
(b) The Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY) consists of two major components namely, the Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) and the Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP). A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under USEP and UWEP will be earmarked to benefit people below the poverty line from the minority communities.
(c) The Sampurna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) is aimed at providing additional wage employment in rural areas alongside the creation of durable community, social and economic infrastructure. Since the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) has been launched in 200 districts, and SGRY has been merged with NREGP in these districts, in the remaining districts, a certain percentage of the allocation under SGRY will be earmarked for beneficiaries belonging to the minority communities living below the poverty line till these districts are taken up under NREGP. Simultaneously, a certain percentage of the allocation will be earmarked for the creation of infrastructure in such villages, which have a substantial population of minorities.

(8) Upgradation of skills through technical training

A very large proportion of the population of minority communities is engaged in low-level technical work or earns its living as handicraftsmen. Provision of technical training to such people would upgrade their skills and earning capability. Therefore, a certain proportion of all new ITIs will be located in areas predominantly inhabited by minority communities and a proportion of existing ITIs to be upgraded to ‘Centres of Excellence’ will be selected on the same basis.

(9) Enhanced credit support for economic activities

(a)The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) was set up in 1994 with the objective of promoting economic development activities among the minority communities. The Government is committed to strengthen the NMDFC by providing it greater equity support to enable it to fully achieve its objectives.
(b) Bank credit is essential for creation and sustenance of self-employment initiatives. A target of 40% of net bank credit for priority sector lending has been fixed for domestic banks. The priority sector includes, inter alia, agricultural loans, loans to small-scale industries & small business, loans to retail trade, professional and self-employed persons, education loans, housing loans and micro-credit. It will be ensured that an appropriate percentage of the priority sector lending in all categories is targeted for the minority communities.

(10) Recruitment to State and Central Services

(a) In the recruitment of police personnel, State Governments will be advised to give special consideration to minorities. For this purpose, the composition of selection committees should be representative.
(b) The Central Government will take similar action in the recruitment of  personnel to the Central police forces.
(c) Large scale employment opportunities are provided by the Railways, nationalized banks and public sector enterprises. In these cases also, the concerned departments will ensure that special consideration is given to recruitment from minority communities.
(d) An exclusive scheme will be launched for candidates belonging to minority communities to provide coaching in government institutions as well as private coaching institutes with credibility.

(C) Improving the conditions of living of minorities

(11) Equitable share in rural housing scheme

The Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) provides financial assistance for shelter to the rural poor living below the poverty line. A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under IAY will be earmarked for poor beneficiaries from minority communities living in rural

(12)Improvement in condition of slums inhabited by minority communities

Under the schemes of Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Central Government provides assistance to States/UTs for development of urban slums through provision of physical amenities and basic services. It would be ensured that the benefits of these programmes flow equitably to members of the minority communities and to cities/slums, predominantly inhabited by minority communities.

(D) Prevention & Control of Communal Riots 

(13) Prevention of communal incidents

In the areas, which have been identified as communally sensitive and riot prone, district and police officials of the highest known efficiency, impartiality and secular record must be posted. In such areas and even elsewhere, the prevention of communal tension should be one of the primary duties of the district magistrate and superintendent of police. Their performances in this regard should be an important factor in determining their promotion prospects.

(14) Prosecution for communal offences

Severe action should be taken against all those who incite communal tension or take part in violence. Special court or courts specifically earmarked to try communal offences should be set up so that offenders are brought to book speedily.

(15) Rehabilitation of victims of communal riots

Victims of communal riots should be given immediate relief and provided prompt and adequate financial assistance for their rehabilitation.

EFI records 64 incidents of persecution this year

August 12, 2011 by  
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Rev. Richard Howell, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI)

General Secretary, EFI

The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has released a ‘half-yearly report’ with incidents of persecution across India since beginning of 2011.

EFI has recorded 64 instances of violence coupled with several instances of false accusations against the Christian community.

The southern state of Karnataka recorded the most number of attacks with 20 instances of violence and hostility.

The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh saw six instances of violence and the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recorded five each.

EFI, a national alliance of evangelical Christians in India, said it was “deeply concerned” at the continuing hostility against Christians in the country.

“With two – three incidents of violence against the community each week in 2011, Christians continue to face the worst ever persecution,” said Rev. Dr Richard Howell, General Secretary, EFI.

In an outrageous attack against Christians in Jharkhand, the local villagers in the Palamu and Garwah district left several Christians, including one woman severely injured. One woman was abducted for a month by the attackers before she was finally released by the order of the local court.

The police failed to arrest even a single person in connection with the incidents, inspite of repeated appeals from both local and national human rights agencies and the appeals from the victims themselves.

Far from being an isolated incident, EFI said, this is the norm, with several Christians being coerced by government agencies into accepting a compromise with the attackers and even submitting to demands such as leaving the village and conducting worship services at their homes.

In most of the instances, after the preliminary disruption of church or worship service, Christians including women were abused and physically assaulted. Later the Christians were arrested on the charges of “forcible conversions”.

The blatant disregard for the law by alleged Hindutva proponents, coupled with the inaction and often bias of the police in favour of the attackers, has left the community vulnerable and helpless in the onslaught of violence, EFI expressed.

The evangelical body has recommended the State Governments, especially the government of Karnataka, to take immediate steps to ensure protection of the Christian minority.

EFI has also recommended the Central Government to enact the Prevention of Communal Violence Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, after due consideration to the concerns raised by civil society.

– christiantoday

Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh Appeals to Commemorate Last Sunday of August as “Indian Christian Martyrs’ Day”

August 12, 2011 by  
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Archbishop Leo Cornelio, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Archbishop Leo Cornelio

Bhopal : Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh (MPIMS),has appealed to all Christian community members to remember the Christian Martyrs on 28th August. Richard D’Silca , Media in-charge, said “It was a decision taken by the MPIM in a two days “Isai Mahasangam 2008”(Christian Lay Leaders Conference) held in Bhopal in October 2008. 

In 2010 the Archbishop of Bhopal, Dr. Leo Cornelio has supported the idea of organizing a prayer meeting and blood donation to commemorate the Indian Christian Martyrs.”

Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh has asked all its district units to commemorate the Indian Christian Martyrs Day by organizing blood donation camps and prayers. It also expects people to take part in large numbers. In Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, IMS is organizing the blood donation camp along with Red Cross.

Mr. Kurishinkal Josy , President IMS  , said , “the great sacrifice done by the Christians of Orissa has to be remembered by the people of  India. We will commemorate 25th August as Indian Christian Martyrs Day all over Madhya Pradesh.” MPIMS will remember it as a day to remember all those Christians since St. Thomas, the apostle, who were killed while serving the Lord.”

Adding to this Mrs. Sheela Shantiago, the women wing president, said that along with martyrs we will also specially remember those heroic women who faced rape, molestation and insults for the sake of faith, their sacrifice is not less than martyrdom.”  

Richard D’Silva , Media In-charge, said ,We have started and E-mail campaign to appeal all the Church leaders and people of good will  to celebrate it with prayer, fasting, blood donation camps etc. He also urged the Church leaders and organizations  to declare 25th August as Indian Christian Martyrs Day. He said that if this date is not suitable any other date can be fixed but their great sacrifice to strengthen the faith of Christians has to be remembered.”

MPIM has decided to write to all Church leaders and organizations to promote this day as Indian Christian Martyrs Day. We will celebrate this day from now on. We will also remember and honour all those living persons too who suffered during the violence.

Mass arrests of Christians continue in Eritrea

August 12, 2011 by  
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The Eritrean government bans all Christian groups that do not belong to a state-approved church.

The Eritrean government bans all Christian groups that do not belong to a state-approved church.

Eritrean officials have arrested at least 90 Christians in recent months, including many college students. In May, authorities detained 64 believers in Adi Abeyto, a village near the capital, Asmara. Only six of the 90 arrested have been released. The others are thought to be held at a police station or in the notorious Mitire military prison. It is not clear why the Christians were detained, but college students have reportedly been arrested in recent weeks for refusing to take part in celebrations for the country’s Independence Day (May 24). For example, 26 students from the Mai-Mefhi College of Technology were arrested in June and detained at an unknown location.

In 2002, the Eritrean government banned all Christian groups that do not belong to a state-approved church. Since then, thousands of Christians have been imprisoned. Sixteen are known to have died in custody.

Pray that Eritreans imprisoned for Christ will be released. Pray Eritrean Christians will remain steadfast in faith, lovingly proclaiming Christ both inside and outside of prison walls. Pray that those who persecute Christians in Eritrea will repent of their ways and come to faith in Christ.

– vom-usa, release international, release eritrea

Join the International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, China, newsletter-asia, North Korea, Persecution

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Mini-Protestors_stand_outside_the_Chinese_embassy_on_26_April_08

Mini-Protestors_stand_outside_the_Chinese_embassy_on_26_April_08

Will you raise your voice for North Koreans?

In recent months, ICC has been working to raise more awareness about the atrocities that occur in North Korea and what we can do to help people escape a regime known to be one of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world. 

It is alarming to know that the North Korean regime is actively arresting and sometimes even executing its citizens for attempting to flee the nation. Even more alarming is that those who successfully cross into China (often the only viable option) must go into immediate hiding, as the Chinese government has been increasingly hunting down refugees and forcibly repatriating them back to North Korea, where inhumane treatment and even death awaits those deemed as traitors.

In order to bring global awareness to China’s cruel policy that violates its international treaty commitments, ICC is partnering with the North Korea Freedom Coalition for an International Protest to Save the North Korean Refugees on Thursday, September 22, which coincides with the USA’s 3rd annual Save North Korean Refugees Day. This protest will call Chinese embassies and consulates throughout the world to stop the repatriation of North Korean refugees.

439 proposals pending with Maulana Azad Education Foundation

August 12, 2011 by  
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Minister for Minority Affairs, Salman Khurshid

Minister for Minority Affairs, Salman Khurshid

New Delhi: Under grant-in-aid scheme for construction and expansion of schools, hostels and technical / vocational training centres, some 439 proposals out of those received up to 31.03.2011 from NGOs are pending with the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF).

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Salman Khurshid, Minister of Minority Affairs, informed the House that the main reasons for pendency of proposals with MAEF are as follows:

(i) Some proposals are pending for want of required documents from the NGOs;
(ii) With respect to some proposals inspection reports are not received;
(iii) Inspection required with respect to some proposals; and
(iv) Availability of financial resources.

Khurshid further informed the House that in order to clear the pending proposals expeditiously, the applications which are complete in all respects are considered by the MAEF on first come first serve basis. In order to augment the financial resources so as to enable MAEF to clear more cases, the corpus fund of MAEF has been increased from Rs.200 crore to Rs.700 crore during the 11th Five Year Plan period.

tcn news

Mass arrests of Christians continue in Eritrea

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Eritrea, newsletter-world, Persecution, World

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Eritrean officials have arrested at least 90 Christians in recent months, including many college students. In May, authorities detained 64 believers in Adi Abeyto, a village near the capital, Asmara. Only six of the 90 arrested have been released. The others are thought to be held at a police station or in the notorious Mitire military prison. It is not clear why the Christians were detained, but college students have reportedly been arrested in recent weeks for refusing to take part in celebrations for the country’s Independence Day (May 24). For example, 26 students from the Mai-Mefhi College of Technology were arrested in June and detained at an unknown location.

In 2002, the Eritrean government banned all Christian groups that do not belong to a state-approved church. Since then, thousands of Christians have been imprisoned. Sixteen are known to have died in custody.

Pray that Eritreans imprisoned for Christ will be released. Pray Eritrean Christians will remain steadfast in faith, lovingly proclaiming Christ both inside and outside of prison walls. Pray that those who persecute Christians in Eritrea will repent of their ways and come to faith in Christ.

– VOM-USA

Join the International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Korea, newsletter-asia, Persecution

Comments Off on Join the International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees

Will you raise your voice for North Koreans?

In recent months, ICC has been working to raise more awareness about the atrocities that occur in North Korea and what we can do to help people escape a regime known to be one of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.

It is alarming to know that the North Korean regime is actively arresting and sometimes even executing its citizens for attempting to flee the nation. Even more alarming is that those who successfully cross into China (often the only viable option) must go into immediate hiding, as the Chinese government has been increasingly hunting down refugees and forcibly repatriating them back to North Korea, where inhumane treatment and even death awaits those deemed as traitors.

In order to bring global awareness to China’s cruel policy that violates its international treaty commitments, ICC is partnering with the North Korea Freedom Coalition for an International Protest to Save the North Korean Refugees on Thursday, September 22, which coincides with the USA’s 3rd annual Save North Korean Refugees Day. This protest will call Chinese embassies and consulates throughout the world to stop the repatriation of North Korean refugees.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has released a ‘half-yearly report’

August 12, 2011 by  
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The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has released a ‘half-yearly report’ with incidents of persecution across India since beginning of 2011.

EFI has recorded 64 instances of violence coupled with several instances of false accusations against the Christian community.

The southern state of Karnataka recorded the most number of attacks with 20 instances of violence and hostility.

The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh saw six instances of violence and the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recorded five each.

EFI, a national alliance of evangelical Christians in India, said it was “deeply concerned” at the continuing hostility against Christians in the country.

“With two – three incidents of violence against the community each week in 2011, Christians continue to face the worst ever persecution,” said Rev. Dr Richard Howell, General Secretary, EFI.

In an outrageous attack against Christians in Jharkhand, the local villagers in the Palamu and Garwah district left several Christians, including one woman severely injured. One woman was abducted for a month by the attackers before she was finally released by the order of the local court.

The police failed to arrest even a single person in connection with the incidents, inspite of repeated appeals from both local and national human rights agencies and the appeals from the victims themselves.

Far from being an isolated incident, EFI said, this is the norm, with several Christians being coerced by government agencies into accepting a compromise with the attackers and even submitting to demands such as leaving the village and conducting worship services at their homes.

In most of the instances, after the preliminary disruption of church or worship service, Christians including women were abused and physically assaulted. Later the Christians were arrested on the charges of “forcible conversions”.

The blatant disregard for the law by alleged Hindutva proponents, coupled with the inaction and often bias of the police in favour of the attackers, has left the community vulnerable and helpless in the onslaught of violence, EFI expressed.

The evangelical body has recommended the State Governments, especially the government of Karnataka, to take immediate steps to ensure protection of the Christian minority.

EFI has also recommended the Central Government to enact the Prevention of Communal Violence Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, after due consideration to the concerns raised by civil society.

Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh Appeals to Commemorate Last Sunday of August as “Indian Christian Martyrs’ Day”

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under India, Madhya Pradesh, newsletter-india, Persecution

Comments Off on Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh Appeals to Commemorate Last Sunday of August as “Indian Christian Martyrs’ Day”

Bhopal : Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh (MPIMS),has appealed to all Christian community members to remember the Christian Martyrs on 28th August. Richard D’Silca , Media in-charge, said “It was a decision taken by the MPIM in a two days “Isai Mahasangam 2008”(Christian Lay Leaders Conference) held in Bhopal in October 2008. 

In 2010 the Archbishop of Bhopal, Dr. Leo Cornelio has supported the idea of organizing a prayer meeting and blood donation to commemorate the Indian Christian Martyrs.”

Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh has asked all its district units to commemorate the Indian Christian Martyrs Day by organizing blood donation camps and prayers. It also expects people to take part in large numbers. In Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, IMS is organizing the blood donation camp along with Red Cross.

Mr. Kurishinkal Josy , President IMS  , said , “the great sacrifice done by the Christians of Orissa has to be remembered by the people of  India. We will commemorate 25th August as Indian Christian Martyrs Day all over Madhya Pradesh.” MPIMS will remember it as a day to remember all those Christians since St. Thomas, the apostle, who were killed while serving the Lord.”

Adding to this Mrs. Sheela Shantiago, the women wing president, said that along with martyrs we will also specially remember those heroic women who faced rape, molestation and insults for the sake of faith, their sacrifice is not less than martyrdom.”

Richard D’Silva , Media In-charge, said ,We have started and E-mail campaign to appeal all the Church leaders and people of good will  to celebrate it with prayer, fasting, blood donation camps etc. He also urged the Church leaders and organizations  to declare 25th August as Indian Christian Martyrs Day. He said that if this date is not suitable any other date can be fixed but their great sacrifice to strengthen the faith of Christians has to be remembered.”

MPIM has decided to write to all Church leaders and organizations to promote this day as Indian Christian Martyrs Day. We will celebrate this day from now on. We will also remember and honour all those living persons too who suffered during the violence.

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